The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday gave Heritage Bank Limited a clean bill of health. The apex bank in a statement dismissed speculations going rounds that the commercial bank which only last year, acquired Enterprise Bank Limited, was having financial difficulties and unable to meet depositors’ payment needs.
A report by an online publication had alleged that Heritage Bank Limited is unable to meet its customers’ immediate withdrawal requests and has wiped out all foreign currency domiciliary accounts through physical theft of cash by the bank’s directors.
The report further alleged that the lender is facing infighting at the board level which adversely affects its ability to function affectively.
But a statement signed by CBN’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, described the report against Heritage Bank as malicious and false.
“The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been drawn to false and malicious stories on the social media insinuating that Heritage Bank is under financial distress and therefore unable to discharge its obligations to its depositors. We wish to state that Heritage Bank is not in distress and as such its depositors should go about their transactions without fear,” the statement said
Continuing, Okorafor said no Nigerian bank was in distress. “For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to further state that no Nigerian bank is in distress. The CBN, as the industry regulator, has a duty to depositors, in particular, and the economy, in general, to ensure the soundness of all financial institutions,” he stated.
The CBN’s spokesman therefore assured all depositors of the safety of their deposits. “The CBN also wishes to state that it will remain alive to its responsibility of ensuring banking system stability and soundness through constant monitoring and supervision of all licensed institutions. The Central Bank of Nigeria wishes to reiterate that the banking system remains resilient enough to weather the current economic storm,” he said.
Also, Divisional Head, Corporate Communications at Heritage Bank, Olusola Longe-Okenimkpe said: “Whilst we acknowledge the challenging operating environment currently experienced in all sectors of the economy, Heritage Bank remains financially stable and has continued to discharge its obligations to all customers and stakeholders. This position is buttressed by the commendable results posted by the bank in the past financial year and the last three quarters of 2016, resulting in shareholder approvals to list its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange within one year of its business combination with the erstwhile Enterprise Bank Limited”.